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Reversible adhesion to rough surfaces both in and out of water, inspired by the clingfish suction disc

TitleReversible adhesion to rough surfaces both in and out of water, inspired by the clingfish suction disc
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSandoval J.A, Jadhav S., Quan H.C, Deheyn DD, Tolley M.T
Date Published2019/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1748-3182
Accession NumberWOS:000493113400003
KeywordsAdhesion; attachment; bioinspired; design; dry; Engineering; gripper; limits; Materials Science; mechanics; Robotics; suction disc

Adhesion is difficult to achieve on rough surfaces both in air and underwater. In nature, the northern clingfish (Gobiesox maeandricus) has evolved the impressive ability to adhere onto substrates of various shapes and roughnesses, while subject to strong intertidal surges. The suction disc of the clingfish relies on suction and friction to achieve and maintain adhesion. Inspired by this mechanism of attachment, we designed an artificial suction disc and evaluated its adhesive stress on rough surfaces and non-planar geometries. The artificial suction disc achieved adhesion strengths of 10.1??& xfffd;??0.3 kPa in air on surfaces of moderate roughness (grain size, 68 & xfffd;m), and 14.3??& xfffd;??1.5 kPa underwater on coarse surfaces (grain size, 269 & xfffd;m). By comparison, a commercially available suction cup failed to exhibit any significant adhesion in both scenarios. The roughly 2?g heavy clingfish-inspired suction discs gripped concave surfaces with small radii of curvature (12.5?mm) and supported payloads up to 0.7?kg. We correlated the effect of key bioinspired features (i.e. slits, a soft outer layer, and body geometry) to adhesion performance using contact visualization techniques and finite element analysis (FEA). The suction discs were then tested on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to demonstrate their utility in the soft manipulation of fragile objects.

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